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The Moonstone (Dover Thrift Editions)
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The story begins with a brief prologue describing how the famous yellow diamond was captured during a military campaign in India by a British officer in 1799. The action moves quickly to 1848 England, where, according to the British officer's will, the diamond has been given to one of the soldier's young relatives, Rachel Verinder. Yet only hours after the diamond arrives at the Verinder estate, it disappears. Was it stolen by a relative? A servant? And who are these three Indian men who keep hanging around the estate?
`The Moonstone' is told from the point of view of several characters. The first portion of the tale is told by Gabriel Betteredge, house steward of the Verinder estate, who has been working for the family practically his entire life. Although over 200 pages, Betteredge's account holds the reader's interest as he introduces the main players and the crime itself. The next account, by distant Verinder relative Miss Clack, is humorous and somewhat important, but far too long (nearly 100 pages) for its relevance to the story. But after Miss Clack's account, things really take off at breakneck speed.
Readers who latch onto the T.S. Eliot quote expecting a modern detective tale will be sorely disappointed. You aren't going to see anything resembling Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, Sue Grafton, or even Mary Higgins Clark. You also won't see Mickey Spillane, Dashiel Hammett, or Raymond Chandler. Nor will you see Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, or Martha Grimes. You won't even see Arthur Conan Doyle. But you WILL see the novel that influenced them all.
You'll also see something else.Read more ›
One of the great attractions of the novel is the extraordinary style of the writing. Although the first English mystery story, it had not yet devolved into a genre, and Collins was not aware that a mystery story could not also be great literature. As a result, he imbued his characters with enormous charm and give them each a vivid manner in expressing themselves. The multiple narratives by this remarkable characters was a strategy to deal with the problem of authorial point of view. On the one hand, Collins wanted to avoid the omniscient narrator who would know the truth both about each character and about the myster of the fate of the diamond. Collins therefore cast the novel in the form of a succession of narratives by the various participants in the novel. He thereby limits the knowledge of each narrator, but he also is able thereby to provide considerable variation in the style of each narrative.Read more ›
The Moonstone uses a clever device whereby the narrative is passed from hand to hand to tell the story of the massive yellow diamond called the Moonstone. Ill-gotten spoils from colonial India, the Moonstone vanished for a generation until it was bequeathed as an 18th-birthday gift to Rachel Verinder. The engaging characters who tell the story of the mysterious disappearance of the Moonstone on Miss Verinder's birthday, each with his or her unique background and perspective, kept me following the story until the end. Collins also depicts the setting in rural England of Rachel Verinder's home town very effectively and without romanticizing. Unexpectedly, the famous detective plays a minor and reluctant role. In the end, I found the actual method of commiting the crime to be a bit unbelievable, but because I enjoyed the storytelling so much this was a minor quibble.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book review- I just finished reading "The Moonstone" (1868) by Wilkie Collins. It is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first detective novel... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Rick Walton
This is a big Victorian grab bag of a novel.You have a mystery.You have a detective story.Explorations of the lives of servants,doctors ,lawyers aristocrats,urbanites and rural... Read morePublished 6 days ago by JAK
Willie has an interesting way of narrating his novels. I enjoyed the red herrings, but it was not hard to figure who, but he is very clever with the details.Published 10 days ago by Dianne J. Jones
R.S. Eliot called this book the "greatest detective novel ever written." Although perhaps not the greatest, I agree that It's a pretty good novel. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Harold J. Bershady
Sensational read. Real page turner. Fascinating 'who done it'.Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer